The link between perceived heading direction and perceived motion of a self-moving item was examined by researchers for a study.
Using a dual-task paradigm, they examined whether object motion judgments had biases associated with heading perception across circumstances and from trial to trial. In the first experiment, participants watched simulated self-motion and calculated their heading direction, or they walked toward a destination in virtual reality while being guided by conflicting physical and visual signals (Experiment 2). During self-motion, a transient autonomously moving object with variable horizontal velocity temporarily emerged, and viewers determined whether the object was traveling left or right.
In Experiment 1, heading estimations and object motion judgments revealed predicted center biases. Object motion judgments were consistent with a more rightward heading on trials with a more rightward heading bias, and vice versa. Trial-to-trial changes were similarly associated. Experiment 2 calculated the proportional importance of physical and optical clues in the judgments of walking and object motion. Both were significantly impacted by nonvisual signals, with object motion receiving less weight (86% vs. 63%). Additionally, there were trial-to-trial correlations between biases in walking judgments and assessments of object motion.
The findings showed that the perception of direction and the perception of object motion had similar processes.